How to start a new life in America – How to adapt to a new environment

How to start a new life in America – How to adapt to a new environment

Next month I will celebrate my second year in America. Time moves so fast that I cannot imagine. Thank God for helping me to start a new life easily. Fortunately, I get a lot of support from my good friends and my family, so I can overcome challenges and adapt the new life rapidly.

It is worth pointing out that accepting to give up what I have in Vietnam and start from zero in a new country is not simple as you travel to a country and spend there for a couple times. Only when you receive enough support and guides can you get the essential direction to move forward. Based on my experience, I would like to share with people who want to start a new life in America the list of significant guides so that they can adapt the new environment as fast as I did. Please take a note these guides will be more effective if you have already get a Green Card ( legal immigrants in America or permanent residents).

Look for Help

It is worth pointing out that if you get the support at the beginning of your new life from your family, your friends, and your relatives that help you adapt with the new life faster and easier. There seems to be a consensus that whether your new life is the one you choose or the one that circumstances have forced upon you, a social support structure plays a vital role.

  • Receiving the emotional support from family, friends, and others in the same or similar situations can make you feel less stressful.
  • Having the precise advice to plan for your new life.
    Obtain necessary guides to adapt to the new community, culture, and society quickly.
  • You can also seek the useful information from reading news. For example, I live in San Jose that I prefer to read Craigslist and “Thang Mo” magazine where I can look for a lot of useful information such as renting a room, looking for a job, getting the mortgage / real estate or insurance service, joining community events and so on.

Apply for Welfare System

With your Green Card, you officially become a permanent resident that you can get the support from a variety of governmental programs:

  • Food stamps: a card issued by the government to eligible people that they can use this card to buy food based on their card limit. Depend on different status, people will receive the various amount of money. Every 6 months, they need to report their status such as the status of a job, updating their new income and so on.
  • Medicaid : is a health insurance program for low-income and needy people that you can get health care support with free of charge: free eye and dental checkup ( one a year), annual health checkup, free medicine and so on. There is no doubt that the Healthcare is so expensive in the U.S that costs about twice as much as it does in any other developed country. Therefore, if you are eligible to receive the healthcare support, you will release the burden of disease.
  • Supplemental security income (SSI): this program is to support aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income. The program will provide the basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Renting a room or an apartment

I would like to share with you the list of 10 most expensive cities to rent a room or an apartment in the U.S: San Francisco, New York, Boston, Oakland, San Jose, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Seattle.

In San Jose, the rental fee for a normal room is about $600 – $1500, for an apartment (1 or 2 bedrooms about $1500 – $3500). However, If you rent a room in other cities such as Oklahoma City (Oklahoma), the fee is cheaper. The rental fee for a normal room is about $200 – $400, for an apartment (1 or 2 bedrooms about $400 – $700). There is a huge difference between these cities; therefore, you should research carefully the place you want to live.

In order to seek a room or an apartment, you can search on Craigslist, local news such as  “Thang Mo” magazine in San Jose and so on. Furthermore, you also ask your friends if their house get a room for rent, then maybe you can negotiate a better price. Normally, the rental fee will increase to 3-7% / year.


Take a driver license

It is worth pointing out that if you do not know how to drive a car, you seriously get in trouble to start your new life. Especially, if you live in San Jose where it is not easy to use public transportation to move among places.

When I moved to the U.S, I stayed with my aunt for nearly 2 weeks in South San Jose. What made me surprised was that it was hard to catch a bus nearby. It took me about 15 minutes to walk to the bus station. Moreover, honestly, I did not feel safe waiting for a bus because of a lot of homeless to approach me for requesting money.

Therefore, immediately, I read Thang Mo magazine to find a driving instructor. The cost was about $500 that the instructor would teach me until I get the driver license successfully. It took me two weeks to learn and get the license. It is easy to drive a car in America since people seriously follow the traffic law.


In my opinion, insurance is the most important factor that you should buy when you stay in America to protect yourself and your family from risks since the cost of any accidents is too high. In order to explain more about kind of insurances, I will mention in my next post. Therefore, I just provide a general information for your reference.

Health insurance: As I explained above, the cost of healthcare is so expensive, it is necessary to buy insurances to cover your family. If you are eligible for Medicaid it is good; if not, you can sign up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act such as Obama Care with the reasonable cost or sign up for some private health insurances.

Car insurance (automobile insurance): It provides the protection for yourself and your family from liability, damages, and financial loss because of the car accidents. Moreover, the reason insurance is important is that it protects you from having to pay damages in the event that you are found at fault for the accident also.

When you decide to buy the car insurance, you should take note there are two kinds of car insurance: one way or two way. If you are insured one way you will not get anything from insurances if you are responsible. If you have insured both ways either you are responsible or not you are going to get your car repaired at the cost of your insurance company.

Home insurance: In order to protect your home from such financial risk because of natural disasters, fire, and robbers, you should most likely buy the proper level of homeowners insurance.

Look for a Job

In order to pay various fees in the U.S, you should look for the job right after getting a driving license. If you have already get working experience in your homeland, you can apply for Jobs online such as,, and so on. It is worth pointing out that if your friends are willing to refer you a job, that becomes your advantage to be recruited.

Moreover, as I mention, If you are a Vietnamese, you can look for jobs on Thang Mo magazine. There are a lot of companies that Vietnamese people are the owner that they prefer to recruit a Vietnamese. Actually, if you speak bi-language ( Vietnamese – English), it becomes your advantage.

Like my case, right after I moved to the U.S, I get the job immediately since my job requires bi-language. Since there are a lot of jobs in San Jose it is not difficult for you to look for jobs such as waiter/waitress, nail technician, chef, realtor, financial consultant, software engineer and so on.

Back to School

Because you want to get a good salary or seek a job, you should get the degree or certificate. Moreover, in order to apply for a nail technician, realtor, loan processor and so on, these jobs require you to get the license. If you want to work for companies, you should get a bachelor degree.

I recommend you should apply 2 years in the community college first then transfer to the University to complete last two years. Totally, it takes you 4 years to graduation. Instead to apply 4 years in the University with the high cost, applying in the college is the smart choice because you can receive financial aid, free of tuition, free books ( if you are eligible to receive).

According to in 2017, students may get a free year of college during their first year on campus. If you have children and you live in a good district, it is possible for your children to attend a good public school in the area. That is why the house price in the good neighborhood is always higher than the bad one.





Amy Nguyen

Amy Nguyen

I feel happy to share my experiences with you about Travel - Food - Life around the world. I hope to inspire you to Live-Love- Laugh :)



  • Pham Pham November 19, at 01:58

    Very good, My:) I’m also looking for the advice/guidance for students afters their Uni graduation:) tks

    • Amy Nguyen Amy Nguyen November 19, at 17:05

      Thank for your comment:). The topic you mentioned is the one I plan to share:). You can subscribe my web, so you can receive the notification of my new post.

  • Amy Nguyen Amy Nguyen April 06, at 21:57

    Thank you for your comment:)


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